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The Different Types of Warts and How They're Treated

If you or someone in your family has a wart, chances are you don’t need to worry. Most warts resolve on their own or with the help of a dermatologist. Almost a third of children and teens have warts, along with 5% of adults. 

At HK Dermatology in San Juan Capistrano, California, our board-certified dermatologists and team understand the frustration and discomfort of having a wart. We provide fast and effective treatment to help quickly put your wart worries behind you. 

Take a moment to learn about the different types of warts, how they are treated, and when it is time to seek medical help. 

All about warts

All warts are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus that infects skin cells and makes them grow faster than normal. That causes small growths to form on the skin — warts. They are often painless, though unsightly, and can spread to any part of your body. 

Depending on the location, wart appearances can change. Let’s dive into six types of warts and how they can present on your body. 

1. Common warts

Common warts are characterized by a firm or rough surface that may remind you of a cauliflower. A common wart may have dark spots, which are the blood vessels under your skin. This type of wart can appear anywhere but is often found on knuckles, fingers, elbows, knees, or areas that have broken skin.

2. Flat warts   

It’s no surprise that flat warts, also known as plane warts, have a flat appearance. These warts grow on skin exposed to the sun and are round and smooth. Flat warts vary in color, from yellow to brown or the same color as your skin. Flat warts often grow in large numbers but tend to quickly resolve on their own. 

3. Plantar warts

Plantar warts grow in high-pressure areas. These locations include the heels, toes, and bottom of the feet. Plantar warts may have a small black dot surrounded by harder tissue. 

4. Filiform warts

Filiform warts grow on the mouth, eyes, or nose. These warts have a distinctive appearance, as they form long, thin projections of skin. Due to the sensitive areas filiform warts grow in, skip the home treatments and see our team for removal instead. 

5. Periungual and subungual warts

Periungual warts and subungual warts grow under and around the nail. These warts do not have the same appearance as common warts.

Due to their location under a nail, subungual warts are more difficult to treat. These warts are also more painful than others because they make the surrounding skin ridged and raised. 

Do not pick or bite at the infected nails to relieve pain or remove the wart because it can spread the virus. Instead, schedule a consultation with our HK Dermatology team to discuss treatment options. 

6. Genital warts

Genital warts are almost always spread through sexual intercourse and form in the moist regions of your genitals. Often they are too small to see and don’t cause pain, but sometimes they can trigger other uncomfortable symptoms, such as itching, skin discomfort, and redness. 

There are many strains of HPV — the virus that causes genital warts — and most aren’t harmful. The condition is extremely common, affecting over 43 million Americans. However, women need to get regular pap smears, especially if they are HPV-positive, since some strains of the virus may cause cancer.

Wart treatment

Usually, warts do not signify a significant medical issue and often resolve on their own, though it may take months or years. 

Most warts aren’t painful, but they may be uncomfortable depending on their location — like your finger joint or the bottom of your foot. 

Treatment options for warts depend on the location and type. Our HK Dermatology team evaluates your symptoms to recommend the best treatment. Treatment options include: 

To learn more about warts and treatment options, contact our San Juan Capistrano office today.

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